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This candidate wants to become the first out gay member of the Kansas legislature

Joseph McCormick May 25, 2017
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A candidate in Johnson County hopes to be the first out gay member of the Kansas legislature.

Matthew Calcara, a 36-year-old from Olathe, launched a bid for the Kansas House’s 30th District on Tuesday.

He challenges a Republican who currently holds the seat, Randy Powell.

Randy Powell

The candidate says he wants to “run against the climate of fear.”

Calcara notes Powell’s support of a bill in the Kansas House which condemned pornography on the grounds of public health.

He says: “If there was a spark that made me say, ‘This is why I got to run that was probably it.'”

Powell said that people can become addicted to porn and that it degrades women, in defending the resolution.

He also opposed a Medicaid expansion which would have brought healthcare to more in the state.

“I think some kind of voucher program that could afford people some kind of ability toward buying a private health plan would be a better program,” he said.

Calcara tells the Kansas City Star that he wants to represent Johnson County, where he grew up, after living in Los Angeles for 15 years.

He also supported another gay candidate who faced death threats when he challenged the Wichita seat in 2010, Dan Manning.

“You can’t be ashamed. You can’t hide from it,” said Manning.

“Unfortunately for many people, that one part of who we are is enough to turn them off …b ut he has to be as authentic as he can.”

The state of Kansas last month attempted to change regulations on legal gender change, to make it harder for trans people to have documents reflecting their gender identity.

Earlier this year, two identical bills got readings. The bills would make it an offence for trans people to use a bathroom not aligned with their chromosomes and birth gender.

Bathroom

It made it possible for trans people to be fined $2,500 for using the “wrong” bathroom.

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